Not sure if any of you missed me, but two weeks from my last post, I find myself in a completely different situation.
Here, I find scorpions floating in the toilet, I chase cottontail rabbits with my camera and never get close enough, a roadrunner perches on the dividing wall in the backyard, and I am surrounded by masses and masses of chiles.
I float in a cloud of air conditioning until I notice the dash says 108F outside. Water aerobics in the morning with mom and her chatting buddies almost kicks my butt but I come back a lighter shade of pale. I have a few more months to go before I can have a deep, much-to-be-envied tan that my mother has.
I am in New Mexico.
My mother bought a house here a few years ago and finally I was able to come out for a visit. Being in Las Cruces, and so close to El Paso, Texas, I feel that I am in familiar territory. I have driven from Texas to California twice and loved the drive. I am just one of those people that inherited the “driving gene.” A weekend trip to San Diego from San Francisco, by car, was fun for me. Some stretches of road in New Mexico you don’t see another sign of life other than the occasional car you pass.
New Mexico is growing. It’s becoming the new Arizona, after Arizona was the new Florida. Retirement communities abound here, and houses are reasonable and the weather is better than Florida. And who can resist a faux-Adobe house?
The weather turned a bit since I got here, which means I can still enjoy sunrises like this one without scorching my body but I haven’t seen as many sun-soaked rocky horizons as I’d like to.
The “magic” hours in New Mexico are easy to spot. The light filters in warm and golden and turns everything it shines onto into something photo-worthy. You should have seen what it did to some 3-day-old bananas!
People hang a “Ristra” of chili peppers, and sometimes garlic and blue corn on their front doors for good luck. It reminds of me of Italy quite a bit. I love chili peppers, using hot pepper chili oil on everything. I was surprised to note that the New Mexico chiles are not as spicy as the ones from Calabria. But they make a great enchilada sauce!
Hatch, New Mexico, is a tiny town of 2000 people not far from Las Cruces, and is Chile Capital of the World! There is even a Hatch Chile Festival, and I feel a kinship with them as my own hometown, Gilroy, is the Garlic Capital of the World. I may even catch the festival this year!
Little stores sell sacks of peppers and more interesting to me, big bags of powdered chiles – chipotle, green, red – I couldn’t resist picking up a few bags to take back to Italy.
Do you have favorite ways to use chiles? Do you prefer red or green?